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Medical Countermeasures Against Chemical Threats

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Names and Symbols of Classical Chemical Warfare Agents with Time of Onset for Initial and Delayed Symptoms

Type
Common Name Symbol Time of Onset of Initial Symptoms Time of Onset of Delayed Symptoms (skin absorption)
Nerve Agents Tabun GA
(highly volatile)
Seconds to minutes Within 2 hours
  Sarin GB
(highly volatile)
Seconds to minutes Within 2 hours
  Soman GD
(highly volatile)
Seconds to minutes Within 2 hours
  Cyclosarin GF
(highly volatile)
Seconds to minutes Within 2 hours
  VX VX
(lower volatility)
Minutes Within 18 hours
Vesicants or Blister Agents Sulfur Mustard H and HD 4–6 hours 2–48 hours
  Sulfur Mustard-
T Mixture
HT 4–6 hours 2–48 hours
  Nitrogen Mustard HN-1 4–6 hours 2–48 hours
  Nitrogen Mustard HN-2 4–6 hours 2–48 hours
  Nitrogen Mustard HN-3 4–6 hours 2–48 hours
  Lewisite and other arsenical vesicants L Immediate Immediate
Corrosive Skin Irritant Phosgene oxime CX Immediate contact effects; may cause pulmonary edema if inhaled Immediate (when used with VX, VX absorption is enhanced
Pulmonary (Choking Agents) Phosgene CG Immediate irritant effects; pulmonary edema 4–48 hours post exposure N/A
  Chlorine Cl Immediate irritant effects; pulmonary edema in 2–4 hours N/A
  Diphosgene DP Immediate irritant effects; pulmonary edema 4-48 hours post exposure N/A
Blood Agents
(Cellular Poisons)
Hydrogen cyanide
(vapor and liquid)
AC < 1 minute
(persistence <1 hr)
N/A
  Cyanogen chloride
(vapor)
CK < 1 minute
(non-persistent)
N/A

Table based on information in

  1. The Medical NBCBattlebook, U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine, May 2001.
  2. The Textbook of Military Medicine: Medical Aspects of Chemical and Biological Warfare, Office of the Surgeon General, U.S. Army, 1997
  3. Department of Health and Human Services CDC Emergency Preparedness and Response information bulletins, 23 September, 2005 (available from: http://www.bt.cdc.gov/chemical/)

Not included in this table are other chemical agents recognized by the military, such as BZ (incapacitating agent), CN and CS (tear gas products), and DM (adamsite), a vomiting gas.

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Last Updated March 25, 2008